Explain the Strengths and Weaknesses of One or More Criminological Theories for Explaining Crime in Contemporary Britain Essay

Words: 2661
Pages: 11

Explain the strengths and weaknesses of one or more criminological theories for explaining crime in contemporary Britain

Word count:1,200

Outline plan * Explain in brief the purpose of this essay. * Define the biological theory. * Evaluate Lombroso’s theory and link it to contemporary Britain. Include statistical data. * Discuss Charles Goring’s critisms of Lombroso’s theory. * Evaluate Sheldon’s somatypes theory. * Describe and evaluate the biological chromosomes theory. * State how Patria Jacobs’ study of the XYY genotype is tested by Stanley Walzer and Park Gerald’s own study of mental health hospital patients. * Explain how sociologists differ from biological theorist in their explanation of crime. *
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As such, it is stated that there is a small association between learning difficulties and criminal behaviour [sociology.about.com].
British geneticist Patricia Jacobs carried out a study of 197 men in a high-security mental hospital in Scotland. The study, published in the British journal Nature in 1965, showed that 3.5 % of the men studied had the XYY genotype, 20 times higher than the normal occurrence of the defect and also had less than average intelligence. The conclusion is that XYY males are more prone criminal behaviour [compass.port.ac.uk].
The initial advantage presented by these studies is that other countries and England began allowing maternity hospitals to test for XYY genotypes in babies. A study carried out by Stanley Walzer and Park Gerald tracked the development of XYY boys, keeping a watch for aggression or mental disorder. However almost all of the research studies focused on inmates in mental hospitals and revealed more about mental illness than criminality. There are also thousands of normal and inoffensive individuals in the general population who have an extra Y chromosome [library.thinkquest.org].
Sociologists look to society for an explanation of crime and deviance rather than the biological or psychological makeup of the individual. Three major theories fall under sociology and they are; social bond theory, social learning theory and the strain theory. [Langley, Pilkington, Richardson, 2007: 34].